Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Baby in a bucket.

Lots of people are posting these days about baby carriers. Even though mine aren't babies anymore (did I just say that?), I have some opinions on the matter. My babies had some opinions as well.
See? He looks aghast at the very idea... not carry me? "Pwah - I can cry all day if need be... pick me up, Mom."

I see lots of folks toting their babies around in the car seat containers. These suckers are heavy. Heck, I had a c-section for my first and the little guy weighed nine pounds. You aren't supposed to lift more than ten pounds after major abdominal surgery. So, you can carry the baby and a drink (but, not a car seat) and you are at the limit. Not to mention, they are awkward to carry, you can't nurse a baby in them (unless you really are one of those gals that needs a little extra support), and my babies shrieked bloody murder in them. My kids hate riding in their car seats and hate the car in general - my issue, not yours, of course. Anyway, add on to these opinions the latest warnings that children should not sleep in their car seats or spend extra time in them - and can we agree this isn't a good idea?

Ok, so not the car seat (besides, I always get sad when I see a little baby toted around in the bucket anyway - don't you just want to hug the little one?). It's OK, if it worked for you, this is just my opinion anyway, go somewhere else if you want someone else's opinion.

So, now what?

Before my first was born, I bought a sling - an "Over the Shoulder Baby Holder". Lots of women get these things and find them awkward to use. I'll be the first to admit that there is a learning curve here. The "lactivist" store where I got mine had a fake baby (about eight pounds with a heavy little head - so, baby proportioned) to try it with... and an owner that spent some time showing me how to use it. My main advice - get the baby where you want it to be and fit the sling around the baby (not the other way 'round).

So, when I got home with my wee little first baby and a brand new c-section scar - I learned to use the sling. It helped keep the baby off of my scar, and I could use both hands to shop, type, cook, or whatever. Most importantly, being up against me (usually nursing) helped keep my little colicky baby settled. This sling has been used so heavily - it has carried three babies from newborn to 30+ pounds each.

I can't recommend more strongly that parents should have something like this.

Not necessarily this though. I love my sling, but after six years of near daily wearing I have some (more) opinions on the matter.

  • Get a grown-up pattern, fergodsakes. A grown-up wears the thing (even if it has a baby in it). You will see and be seen with this thing a lot and duckies and bunnies get old (stars and moons started feeling pretty old). And, don't even get me started on stupid ducks and bunnies on maternity clothes - I was having a baby, not becoming one.
  • Take the time (some time when you are both calm and rested) and figure out a bunch of comfy ways to carry your little one.
  • (for the ladies) Figure out how to nurse in the sling. People can't tell when you are. I always hear other breastfeeding moms say that they had been scolded for nursing in public. I always heard, "Oh, how cute, can I see the baby?" "Oh, can I see the baby better?" - um... when he is done eating ... I am a staunch advocate for breastfeeding and I think that people should feed babies where they are when the baby is hungry. But, I liked to be able to grocery shop then, too. It helps to plan one's clothing accordingly - it can't be done discreetly in a dress, for example - someone might notice it when you hike your dress over your boobs.
  • Get more than one, if you are inclined (one without padding for easy travel - a pouch or maya wrap) and one with for more comfort (but more bulk) like the OTSBH. My second was a maya wrap (pretty fabrics, no padding, larger learning curve). If I did it again, I would buy a Kangaroo Korner fleece pouch (pretty easy to learn, light, and so soft). She didn't pay me to say it, I have purchased gift certificates for other folks here as well.
  • Don't go on the cheap - one size fits all usually means one size fits none, expect to pay $50-80 and be glad you did.
  • Get advice from people that you see successfully toting their kids.

In the end (as if anyone asked for my opinion), all I am saying is that it is worth your time and effort to get over the sling learning curve. Don't be afraid people.


Jonathan said...

We are just looking at getting the variant of this for older children - the "extra hip" belt thing, that you strap round, so a child can straddle your hip without you having to twist toward them.

Both inventions are marvellous.

richgold said...

What? You don't want one of these? (http://www.mammasmilk.com/totwheels)? ;-)

I _just_ took my blue baby hugger into the second hand baby shop. I had one of these things for #2 and then #4. I decided, even though #4 is only bottoming out at 23 lbs these days that I better do so now, then have to deal with the temptation of wearing it again and having to deal with four amazing days of needless back pain. (He'll graduate to the baby back pack now.)

But I loved 'em for sure.